Wednesday, June 29, 2011
It's ironic really. It's ironic because their efforts to avoid this topic have led to where we are currently at in life. There is an important lesson to be learned here, in my opinion. It is a lesson that my parents have been forced to relearn time and time again with each of their children. Ignoring things will never make the problem go away but only make things worse. This is something that had they learned with the first child, they would have spared themselves a great deal of agony. Each of my siblings has brought a new issue or view to which my parents have had a difficult time adjusting to or even addressing.
For my parents, they must now face the troubling reality that their child is gay, out of the closet, and wanting to pursue relationships with the same gender. For my parents, this is horrifying. So much so that they have refused to support me financially. I do not regard this decision as damaging but rather reality and an opportunity for us to grow in healthy ways. My parents are using it to express their dissatisfaction with my choices. They are upset at it. But for all their being upset they have never once sought to talk to me about it. Communication relies on a two-way discussion. You cannot demand something without first learning what that something is.
Years ago, had my parents chosen to act differently things might have been different. I do not mean that they are to blame for anything. Rather, because of their actions, I was able to grow strong and realize that I cannot accept their lifestyle anymore. I chose to come out to my parents when I was a teenager because I felt lost and confused. I had hoped they would be able to provide me with the help that I felt I so desperately needed. To my shock and, at the time, horror they provided none of that. Instead, they sought to desperately ignore it. This has been there attitude ever since. Even now, with all that is happening, they are desperately trying to avoid knowing anything. They'd rather hide behind such useless phrases as "love the sinner, hate the sin." My dad has repeatedly told me that he neither condones nor condemns "my lifestyle choice." Yet through it all, he has never once asked me what is going on or how I feel or why I am doing this.
Denial is a defense mechanism. It is a tool that we humans use to shield ourselves from unfortunate or unpleasant things. But denial never solves problems. Rather, it allows those problems to grow. By not addressing my concerns and fears, they left me to fend for myself. In so doing, I found proper strength, courage, and hope. I found that by accepting who I am, I could be wholly human.
So, my advice to all parents with children that come out to you as gay or lesbian or bisexual is to talk to them. Listen first and then talk to them. It might be scary at first but I can guarantee that they are even more scared than you. Dialogue helps everyone grow in understanding. Don't just let your own personal issues stand in the way of reaching out to your child. If you do not reach out to your children, they will seek knowledge else where. Talking to your gay children won't stop them from being gay. But it will build the friendship and support network that will be of value to you and them all the remainder of your days. Love isn't about keeping each other at arms length. It's about taking the plunge into the unknown together and staying by each others side. Remember that.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I love my boyfriend dearly. I've looked at him and sometimes wondered, "Would I still like you if you were a girl?" My imagination being what it is, I peeled away the masculine features and could see a very feminine form of him. I was still physically attracted to the different perspective that my eyes took--and I still was attracted to him when I brought my mental perspective to him being a man.
I've struggled a lot with my bisexuality while being in this relationship because I'm still not totally comfortable with it--despite the years of experience that I've had with it and all of the talking and emotional processing that I've done with so many people. My boyfriend's parents were uncomfortable with the idea of me being bisexual at first, but they warmed up to me. What's funny is that I have started to feel bad that I didn't have gender as a filter for who I loved--feeling bad for the chance that he ever would feel like I'd love anyone else more than him.
Then sensibility came back to my mind. He can suck it up or leave if he can't trust you.
He has never pressured me into changing for him, except that he's noted that he does not want a polyamorous relationship.While I agreed, looking forward to the awesomeness of monogamous love, a little part of me whispered, Oh...okay. Part of me asked myself if that's what I really wanted, and that part of me still wonders.
He's a great friend and a great lover, and the only way I could ask for someone that could connect closer to me would be myself. I've never met someone that can handle so many aspects of me that have turned off or pushed away other lovers. It is a big priority to me that someone can handle my autistic outbursts, quirks, and sensory overloads. It's less of a priority that my partner be able to be a man or a woman whenever I please.
Personally, I can say that in choosing someone that I want to be with (short or long-term) I choose the person that I love the most in the most ways. It's not like people are dropping out of the sky for me, but out of all of the people I know and have known, I tell myself which qualities I like and to what intensity I like those qualities. My boyfriend is amazing on so many of those levels.
While not every bisexual will want to be in a polyamorous relationship, I have to ask those bi people: How do you choose between the two? Do you crave female and male relationships, or do you just stick with one partner? One gender? One (insert hair color here?)
Stay awesome! You were born this awesome!
Monday, June 27, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Then, I sat down and ate a roll of grocery store sushi/sashimi (seriously, it was some kind of mix of the two) with milk and a granola bar. When I was eating the sushi, I tried to be mindful. I tried to eat it one piece at a time. And I did not read. I tried to pay attention to the taste and the flavors. My favorite was the bright green zing of the horse raddish.
I'm enrolled in a summer Russian course. It's full-time (8:30 am to 5:30 pm, with various breaks), and keeps me quite busy. That is part of my excuse for not writing last week. I've missed you.
I want to know more about gays and spirituality. Gay Mormons. Gay Jews. Gay Catholics. Gay whatever. We're everywhere. To some, it means being faithful and/or celibate within the bounds and strictures of organized religion. For others, it's (merely) a heritage--something that taught a now ethereal form of general goodness, but that perhaps is sometimes heavy--sometimes threatens us with the shame and guilt we associate with that part of our past and this part of our present. Among perhaps others, there is a third group of gay Mormons, gay Jews, gay Catholics, etc., for whom religion is part of our identity and standards, but who have also molded (if you'll permit me to say it this way) those beliefs to fit the way we live.
[There must be lots of outside and in-between here.]
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Because it's not about being careful about offending people in the LGBT community. It has nothing to do with those awesome Think Before You Speak videos encouraging people to quit saying "that's so gay" when they really mean "that's so stupid/unfair/obnoxious/ridiculous/etc"
No, this bill is about keeping teachers from saying the word gay in school. Or from students speaking about their gay fathers or their lesbian mothers.
"The Tennessee Senate passed a bill on Friday that would bar teachers from discussing homosexuality with elementary and middle school students."
While this may be a tough subject for people who have values against homosexuality, the fact is there are gay families in the world. I think that if elementary and middle school age children can learn about the changes about to take place in their bodies, then they ought to be able to discuss homosexuality as well. The truth is that "gayness" will always be part of our lives whether we are straight, gay, bisexual, or whatever. There are people around us who are gay, and they need information on their bodies, on relationships, and on their lives. Aside from the whole adolescence/puberty thing, what about families?
When I was in middle school I learned about different types of families. There was traditional or nuclear families with the mother, father and children. Then there was the single-parent family in which either a mother or a father raised children alone. There was also something like the extended family in which children are raised by an aunt, uncle, or grandparents. It makes sense to include (possibly under nuclear family) those in which there are two same-gender parents.
Anyway, Don't Say Gay. Or, do. Watch this video.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
In the book Homosexuality and Civilization the author describes the stereotypical (or even mythological) gay man or men that engaged in same-sex relations (whether with young men or adults) in ancient Greece. Those kind of men were athletic, courageous, devoted to the preservation and sanctity of the state. Statues were built to such men, their acts were memorialized until they slipped into myths. Some of the great Greek philosophers argued that the ideal love is that between a man and a man.
Stereotypes reveal how societies think and view the world. They are a reflection of a desire to turn complex individuals into 2-dimensional, flat beings. My point in comparing ancient Greece's view of men that seek other men for romance and that of America's views is to show the drastically different views of things.
I find it fascinating that one society saw a man that took another man for his lover was someone to be saluted and admired. That man was expected to be a pillar of city and to defend all that was good. I also find it fascinating that over 2,000 years later my society thinks the opposite of such people.
Society is strange, wouldn't you agree? Thankfully, people are realizing that gays (men and women) are not made different by their sexual preference from their heterosexual peers. Whether you choose for your partner a man or a woman should make no difference to anyone. It does not prevent the opportunity to have children (or refrain from having children), expressing the fullness of love for your partner, hinder your spiritual journey, etc.
One last thought until next week. Whether you believe in some kind of divinity or spiritual realm or not, your conduct towards others is always important.
And now videos that have nothing to do with each other, but are in some ways thought-provoking.
Monday, June 13, 2011
"Quit, give up, you're beaten!"
They shout at me and plead.
"There's just too much against you now.
This time you can't succeed."
And as I start to hang my head
In front of failure's face,
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race.
And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene,
For just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates my being.
A child's race, young boys, young men
How I remember well,
Excitement sure! But also fear.
It wasn't hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope
Each thought to win the race,
Or tie for 1st or if not that
At least take 2nd place.
And fathers watched from off the sides
Each cheering for his son,
And each boy hoped to show his Dad
That he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they went
Young hearts and hopes afire
To win to be the hero there
Was each young boys desire.
And one boy in particular
Whose Dad was in the crowd
Was running near the lead and thought,
"My Dad will be so proud!"
But as he speeded down the field
Across a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win
Lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself
His hands flew out to brace
And mid the laughter of the crowd
He fell flat on his face.
So down he fell and with him hope
He couldn't win it now...
Embarrassed, sad he only wished
To disappear somehow.
But as he fell his Dad stood up
And showed his anxious face
Which to the boy so clearly said:
"Get up and win the race!"
He quickly rose, no damage done,
Behind a bit, that's all
And ran with all his mind and might
To make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself
To catch up and to win.
His mind went faster than his legs
He slipped and fell again.
He wished that he had quit before
With only one disgrace,
"I'm hopeless as a runner now.
I shouldn't try to race."
But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his Father's face,
That steady look that said again,
"Get up and win the race!"
So up he jumped to try again
Ten yards behind the last,
"If I'm going to gain those yards," he thought
"I've got to move real fast!"
Exerting everything he had
He regained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead
He slipped and fell again!
Defeat! He lay there silently
A tear dropped from his eye.
"There's no sense running anymore
Three strikes; I'm out; why try!"
The will to rise had disappeared
All hope had fled away;
So far behind, so error-prone:
A loser all the way.
"I've lost so what's the use?" He thought
"I'll live with my disgrace."
But then he thought about his Dad
Who soon he'd have to face.
"Get up" an echo sounded low
"Get up and take your place,
You were not meant for failure here,
Get up and win the race!"
"With borrowed will, Get up" It said,
"You haven't lost at all,
For winning is no more than this
To rise each time you fall."
So up he rose to run once more
And with a new commit,
He resolved that win or lose
At least he wouldn't quit.
So far behind the others now
The most he'd ever been,
Still he gave it all he had
And ran as though to win.
Three times he'd fallen stumbling
Three times he rose again,
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end.
They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed the line 1st place,
Head high, and proud and happy
No falling, no disgrace.
But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race.
And even though he came in last
With head bowed low, unproud,
You would have thought he'd won the race
To listen to the crowd.
And to his Dad he sadly said,
"I didn't do so well,"
"To me you won!" his Father said
"You rose each time you fell."
And now when things seem dark and hard
And difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy
Helps me in my race.
For all of life is like that race
With ups and downs and all,
And all you have to do to win
Is rise each time you fall.
"Quit, Give up, You're beaten."
They still shout in my face,
But another voice within me says,
"Get up and win the race."
I know it's really easy to pick out all the religious symbolism in this, but I hardly ever read it that way. I look at it from a general life perspective. Life is gonna be really hard sometimes. What may not seem a big deal to some may be a mountain to others. Sometimes you're going to fall, have horrible days, weeks, months or years...i don't know. But I really do believe that you need to keep trying. If someone can't get up, help them. If you need help, don't be afraid to ask. I know I've had some days where the only thing I felt I could do was just stay in bed and try again the next morning. This week has also not treated my very kindly. And it gives you that feeling like when you're well and you think you're never sick, but as soon as you're sick the only thing you think is "I have always been sick and will never be well again!" But I really think you only truly fail at life when you stop trying all together. Never give up.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Who's heard of Dan Savage? He's a sex advice columnist who's recently perhaps best known for starting the It Gets Better Project. Anyway, he's got a ton of video clips, interviews, etc. posted on YouTube. Here are two that I saw tonight and enjoyed.
This one's about coming out to very religious parents. Give them a year-long grace period, and then demand acceptance, he says.
Enjoy! Meet y'all next week.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I like the speech the father gives on qualities and aspects his gay son lacked. It brings home the idea that there really is no difference between gay people and straight people.
This video makes me cry happy tears. I wish all people responded as this video invites people to do.
This video reminds me of a lot of what I've been reading surrounding homosexuality in American history.
I just love this video, ha ha!
Those are my thoughts in video format.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
My girlfriend and I went to a carnival last night. It’s one of those ones that’s super fun when you’re about seven and super sketch when you’re older. All the rides fold back into being trucks at the end of the week and stuff. We’re both too poor for overpriced carnivals anyway, so we just walked around and looked at the rides and reminisced about childhood and smelled the delicious bad-for-you food.
But we didn’t hold hands.
While we were there I ran into a coworker, one of my managers, and a kid I knew from high school theatre. And then when we went to the grocery store across the street to go buy ice cream later, we found more people we knew in high school and another coworker of mine.
None of them would have cared, but what if it had been someone who did care? We couldn’t take that risk.
The thing that sucks about being a young gay couple is that you always have to be on your guard. We’re lucky, because our friends are very accepting. When we’re in the safe zones of our own homes (except mine), we’re free to be normal. Nobody gives us a second thought anymore.
But out in the world we always have to be careful. Sometimes we act like a couple when we go to the grocery store, but only if we’re going at midnight when the store is deserted. If we go at prime shopping time, we’re suddenly just best friends out picking up some apples. Because you have to be careful.
At first it was, “We have to be careful, what if we see someone who might tell my parents?” But there’s really more to it than that. In some places, it’s legitimately not safe to be gay. We’re fortunate that we live in a fairly accepting community. It’s pretty conservative, but I was never uncomfortable with the idea of admitting to my fellow students that I was into girls. (Except I was afraid it would get back to my parents so I never was openly out in high school.)
But somebody had to pave the way. Somebody had to take the dive and decide to stop caring whether or not it was safe, had to decide to stop caring about being careful, and just go for it. Somebody had to stand up. I have so much respect for the trail blazers. Because it’s probably not that they don’t care what other people think, it’s not that they’re not afraid, it’s that they want it to be easier and better for other gay kids in the future.
It’s because of brave people that we have even what we do so far.
Will I be brave? When I’m finally out to my parents and I no longer have the idea of them finding out to hide behind, will I be brave? Will I stand up to fear of ridicule and scorn? Will I be a trailblazer? Will I make the path easier for those who follow behind me?
I want my answer to be yes. I’m challenging myself today to make my answer yes. I will stand up and I will be brave. I will swallow my fears of being judged by those around me and I will help to make seeing a lesbian couple in the supermarket and at the carnival a normal thing. And someday people won’t have to be brave anymore.
Someday, two girls who are young and in love will walk through a cheesy carnival on a summer night. And they’ll hold hands.
If you liked this post, I would love it if you took the time to check out my personal blog, which you can find at http://alifeheldinparts.blogspot.com, which deals with my personal journey with the Mormons parts of me and the gay parts of me.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
While the intentions and motivations behind the pamphlet [For the Strength of Youth] may have been positive, it has often been a source of great frustration for many youth and young adults. Unfortunately, this booklet from the First Presidency has caused many youth to experience feelings of self-loathing, self-hatred and confusion. This is especially true for youth in the Church who experience attractions to the same gender.It is my intention to provide a guide similar to the pamphlet "For the Strength of Youth", but modified so that it is especially designed to address the unique concerns of gay and lesbian youth of the Church.
"Homosexual activity is a serious sin. If you find yourself struggling with same-gender attraction, seek counsel from your parents and bishop; they will help you" (Sexual Purity).
The media is constantly sending us messages about who we should be, what we should look like, and how we should act. Most recently, the entertainment and media industry has found that targeting a gay and lesbian audience can bring them lots of money.13 Be aware that the people who run the media and entertainment industry are not interested in you as a person, or your self-esteem. Their only motivation is to make money. This is especially true with media that tries to send messages about what they think "looks good".We all know that what we see on TV and magazines is not usually reality. However sometimes we get so absorbed in what the media presents, that it's very easy to forget this fact. It's so easy to fall into the temptation of comparing ourselves to an image or person that simply isn't real. We all know that photos are often airbrushed and movies are very often digitally enhanced or changed, yet we still find ourselves feeling inadequate because we might not match up to what the media tells us we should be. We are all different and beautiful in our own individual ways. Don't let the media hypnotize you into thinking that you need to dress or look a certain way in order to be accepted by others. Don't let those who have already been "hypnotized" by the media drag you down either. Establish your own identity and be yourself.The media can also be very effective at telling us how we should act, react and feel about certain things. The media has been notorious for portraying certain groups of people in a very stereotypical way. This is especially true about gay and lesbian people and other minorities. This is unfortunate because not only does it misrepresent to the general public who gay and lesbian people really are, but it also makes it confusing for those who are just coming to terms with their own sexual identity. It's quite easy to feel confused when you can't identify with the gay and lesbian characters you see portrayed in movies and TV. Again, it may be obvious, but we need to be reminded that not all gay and lesbian people are like the characters on programs such as Will & Grace or Queer As Folk. If you don't feel you "fit in" with the characters on these and other programs, don't worry! It's most likely a good thing that you aren't like a character on TV!
Finally accepting the fact that you are gay or lesbian can be one of the most stress-relieving and freeing experiences that you will ever have. No longer do you have to wonder why you feel a certain way toward the same sex. No longer do you need to fight the war of feelings every day. You finally know who you are and why you feel the way you do. The next task is deciding what you will do with this "new" you [...] Above all, remember that you are in control. This is your life. You have the freedom to make it the life you want it to be.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Race, religion, sexuality, and gender all seem to imply to society that there are shared experiences or that there are shared mindsets, traits, or attitudes that should be apparent in all those that hold in common that connection. Reality, though, is that we are not all the same. When I was younger I did not really understand that. I saw the world through a very self-centered lens. It was not that I saw everyone as the same. I just saw the world as them and me. Nothing else. It was this lens that allowed me to start to realize who I was and what I wanted to define me as a person, an individual. That has led me to in turn see the world as individuals of beauty and depth to meet and learn from.
In USGA meetings there were a few discussions on stereotyping. Now, before I go further on this, I always tease my lesbian and fellow gay friends about lesbian and gay stereotypes. You know the ones: cargo shorts, big ol' boots, rough and tough attitudes, and drivin' around in trucks. Gay men shooting glitter out their palms and dressed so flamboyantly that it hurts to look at them. I actually am comfortable with stereotypes.
I take a simple view on stereotypes: they're there for a purpose. Those coming out may face a vast sea of the unknown. The gay culture may seem foreign to them. It may be totally alien. So what should they do? Should they run from it? Hate it? Lose themselves in it? Many gays have hid who they are for a long time. So finally being true to themselves may be difficult. When you hide who you are from everyone around you, including yourself, to see who you actually are can be hard. Why not try on pre-made personalities first? Experiment a little with the ultra-gay, the activist queer, hipster lesbian, or tomboy gal? When you've got a handle on the gay world, then changes can be made. It's an option that I have found to be a good idea for some.
The suggestion might sound strange. Be who you are, I've heard say. But honestly, when you don't know who you are, why not find out? Try being a crazy party animal and discover if you like that or not. Try finding God and discover if that happens or not. Try reading queer political thoughts and decide if you agree or disagree. Try sports, music, and all sorts of things that may or may not interest you. Life should be lived and lived well! Why not find out just who you are?
A friend posted on a group that I'm in on Facebook about what we looked for in a romantic partner. I find most attractive a person that has discovered who they are and is comfortable with that. Whether that person is effeminate or masculine, religious or non-religious, political or artistic, as long as they have come to realize just who they are I find that attractive. It's a beauty that I cannot help but admire in each individual. The beauty of at last shedding the chains that bind us to mindless conformity and seeing just a glimpse of the potential within us is breathtaking.
Finally, a song of just the purest joy: